We need an English Parliament – a bit more power for some cities is not enough

Mr Clegg’s proposal to devolve a bit of power to some English cities is no answer to the pressing need for a fair settlement for England.  Nor has it been popular in the past. In 51 referenda to create more powerful elected mayors, 35 have resulted in a rejection of the proposal. 2 elected mayoralties that were set up have subsequently been abolished following another referendum.

There are three proposals before us to deal with the problem of England in the new devolution settlement we are now contemplating. The first is the proposal for an English Parliament. The second is devolved Assemblies for the European regions of England favoured by some in Labour. The third is this  very loose Nick Clegg  proposal for more devolution to English cities.

The case for an English Parliament is overwhelming. Breaking England up into unloved and in some cases unknown Euro regions would be most unpopular. Labour tried this in office, and got a dreadful result in the North East when they asked the public there –  normally a Labour area – to endorse it. Devolution to anything less than England cannot solve the main reason for an English Parliament – the need to settle taxes and tax rates that will be separately decided for Scotland in the Edinburgh Parliament. We do not want different Income Tax rates for Birmingham and Bradford, or for the rest of the south east.

The idea of devolving more power to cities over their budgets and ambitions may well be a good idea. It is no substitute for an English Parliament and could best be done by an English Parliament. It is all the people of England, whether in cities, in the suburbs or in the countryside, that need better representation and more self government.

The unpopularity of elected mayors shows that the electors of England do not see this way of making local government more powerful and more interesting as a good way forward in most places. Mr Clegg does not seem to have much in mind by way of devolved power. He does not seem to want English cities to set different Income tax rates for example, the main new power Scotland will enjoy.

England this time will not be fobbed off with third class devolution or no devolution at all. The Scottish vote and attitudes changes things fundamentally – for England as well as for Scotland.

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146 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    The case for an English Parliament is indeed overwhelming. The case for getting out of the EU other than for free trade and co-operation is also overwhelming, the case for lower taxes and far less government are also overwhelming.

    But alas Cameron’s Tories do not see this and thus threw the last election with ratting and “modernising drivel”. He could, just about, pull the party round now before the reaching the cliff in May 2015. Alas it seems his heart is just not in it he wants to copy John Major and bury them yet again.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 5:37 am | Permalink

      I see the trade deficit in goods and services is still dreadful and even getting worse. £3.3bn for July, up from £2.5bn the previous month. We will just have to sell the rest of Knightsbridge and Chelsea I suppose, if there is much left of it.

      Not much of an export led recovery or indeed any real sustainable recovery at all?

      • outsider
        Posted September 13, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        How right you are, Lifelogic. Our leaders quickly gave up on re-orienting the economy and performed the classic U-turn, relying instead on the usual money-led asset boom, which will end in the usual way with the English/British economy weaker than before.

    • William Gruff
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      But alas Cameron’s Tories do not see this and thus threw the last election with ratting and “modernising drivel”. He could, just about, pull the party round now before the reaching the cliff in May 2015 …

      ‘Cast Iron’ Dave has shown himself to be a liar so many times that none but the terminally credulous or blindly devoted will believe a word he says. What we do know about him is that he always says what he thinks his particular audience wishes to hear so that, for example, in Scotland, to a Scotch audience c1996, he cited English ‘ignorance’ of Scotland as a threat to the ‘union’. He has also said that he does not want to be prime minister of England (he can rest easy on that one).

      The next general election is going to be interesting and may produce the result l expected in 2010, which was a hung parliament with a record number of independent MPs, eight to ten UKIP seats (it was said afterwards that UKIP cost the Tories a dozen or more seats, if I recall correctly, and I will not be surprised if the party manages to park thirty or more bottoms on the green leather next year), one to two BNP and various other small parties.

      I’m not confident that the somnolent English voter is now sufficiently sensible to overthrow the complete dominance of the big two and a half so I expect a period of Italian style instability in British politics, with governments rising and falling every few weeks as coalitions with multiple groups fall apart and shabbier and shabbier deals are made in an effort to keep one lying spiv or criminal or another in a position he could never attain outside politics – at least until we manage to get rid of Scotland, Wales and that little bit of Ireland which really should have been disposed of ninety years ago.

      The case for an English Parliament, always pressing even though long ignored, is now more urgent than ever, and it will not do simply to devolve that function to British MPs sitting for England seats. We need new people clearly and unequivocally dedicated to the long-term English national interest.

      Reply The present polls show no BNP and probably no UKIP MPs next time.

      • ian wragg
        Posted September 13, 2014 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        John, you are seriously deluded. I don’t know about the BNP but UKIP will definitely be joining you. I don’t think you have any idea as to the level of anger out here in the country.
        When you announce another record 500,000 immigrants just before the GE, you will be out of government.

        The slogans are already being printed.
        VOTE LIBLABCON FOR MASS IMMIGRATION AND BRUSSELS RULE
        VOTE UKIP AND LETS START TO GET OUR COUNTRY BACK
        Ive printed off this and other deluded comments of yours about UKIP and will return to them after May 2015.

      • matthu
        Posted September 13, 2014 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        probably no UKIP MPs next time

        I think that is wishful thinking rather than an indication from a recent poll? I don’t see any poll suggesting that neither Farage nor Carswell will be elected, but perhaps you can point me to the poll that does.

        All the national polls show UKIP support too low to win a seat

      • William Gruff
        Posted September 13, 2014 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        Reply to Reply:
        Notwithstanding that I gave the result I expected in 2010, and suggested that next year’s general election result may be the same, by which I meant that the dominance of the big two and a half could be ended by an influx of independents and small parties, not necessarily UKIP and the BNP, or that current polls of public opinion on voting intentions eight months from now are practically worthless, the caveats regarding polls are so well known that even those taken during a campaign should be treated with caution if not disregarded completely. The outstanding example of a fatal reliance on pollsters is still, I think, the pre-election Labour Party rally at Sheffield, in 1992, when various Labour worthies were introduced as ‘the next … minster of Britain’, even though British electoral history had never produced a swing big enough to overturn the majority John Major had. Another, of course, is David Steel’s famous encouragement to an uncritically adoring crowd to ‘go back to [their] constituencies and prepare for government’.

        I will be very surprised if UKIP take no seats next time, as will Douglas Carswell, and I wouldn’t write off the BNP just yet. I thought people so disgruntled last time that the turnout would be the lowest ever recorded and the number of independents returned the highest. That didn’t happen but the public appetite for change seems to have grown since then.

        • William Gruff
          Posted September 13, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

          Ooops.

          My apologies for the bold face. My closing tag was clearly not where it should have been.

    • Bazman
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      Have you overcome your green crap stance that cars are more energy efficient that bikes or do you want to repeat the lie hopping it to become truth like many other of your pointless points. Well? Idiot.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 14, 2014 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        I did not claim that bikes were less energy efficient than cars thought they clearly often are.

        What I said was that when you take into account the food production, transport packaging needed for the fuel they are often more greenhouse gas producing.

        I you really think that seven people cycling (say 400 miles perhaps having to stay in a hotel too) is more efficient than seven people in a Galaxy or something using just 7 gallons of fuel you are totally deluded. Just look at the wind resistance on seven cyclists. I the car went at say 20 mph like bikes it could be even more efficient.

        You even referred me before to a document that agree fully with me, but perhaps you had not read it properly.

        • Edward2
          Posted September 14, 2014 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

          After several decades in engineering I can easily agree with you LL because you are right.
          This is why the car is still by far the most popular and efficient mode of transport.
          It is disliked by the State and by those on the left of politics in particular, because it allows the ordinary citizen some personal freedom and choice.

        • David Price
          Posted September 15, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

          The pro bike lobby also need to add in the extra emissions of all the vehicles stuck behind the bikes.

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Every so often we English have a massive reform. There were two in 1660 and 1688 to reform the monarchy. Then there was another reform in 1832, when the elections were made much fairer. 1911 was when the Lords lost their power completely and in 1918 the Irish were given independence – another revolution. 1945 was when the House of Parliament had to be rebuilt but along traditional lines, not continental ones.

    Parliament has not really had a decent reform since then. We badly need a real root and branch reform. First of all we need the EU out of our lives. Eurocrats often say that nationalism is dead. They have a special Directorate and Commissioner for the “regions”. They were the people behind regionalising Britain out of existence under John Prescott.
    Second we need radical reform of the electoral boundaries which everyone knows are very unfair. Fewer MPs would be good too.
    The Cabinet is no longer what it seems to be. It is a vast, unwieldy body who, we are told, is dictated to. I do not see how anyone like, say, Michael Gove, could chat quietly with the PM in a roomful of about 30 people. Do you? The real power is in the Quad and in the unelected staff at Downing Street. Theis has resulted in a Conservative (and Labour) Party which is completely out of touch with us normal people.

    I could go on…

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Absolutely agree with the sentiments here. We do need our own parliament and one that is not dictated to by the EU! The sooner we get out the better and the sooner Cameron is replaced the better. We need someone who believes in Conservative values. I see nothing getting better regarding protection of our countryside and green landscapes. Am also fed up with the EU meddling in our laws and our way of life. If we didn’t have to put up with mass immigration then we wouldn’t need so many more homes.

      • Phil
        Posted September 13, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        Couldn’t agree more with everything here.

        We’ve had enough fudges. No devolution for selected regions (whether existing areas or artificial Euro versions). We need a proper parliament for the whole of England where everyone is represented, as you say without EU interference.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Might you have gone on to mention the high-roller donors to political parties?

    • William Gruff
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      ‘ … Fewer MPs would be good too … ‘

      How so? Had we proportionally as many MPs in an English Parliament as there are MSPs we would return very nearly sixteen hundred. Five hundred and thirty three MPs representing more than fifty three million people does not seem excessive and I can see no case for reducing the number of English seats, although I agree that some boundary changes are desirable, and in some cases, long overdue.

      • Hope
        Posted September 13, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        There are more politicians in this country than anywhere else in the world accept China! When EU laws, directives and regulation make up the vast amount of rules govening our lives it is difficult to understand your observation. They are simply not needed on this scale as well as local government, regional assemblies etc. Too many layers of bureaucracy, too many MPs which could be transformed into front line services.

        I note the EU commissioner Landor wants us to stop moaning about immigration and build houses for them! Also to invest in better public services to accommodate them. Cameron silent, once more.

        • William Gruff
          Posted September 13, 2014 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

          Oh dear.

          I don’t know what country ‘this country‘ refers to but, assuming that you are referring to the ‘United’ Kingdom and not just England – which is the country my comment concerns, and presumably Mike Stallard’s too :

          1) Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are over-represented at Westminster, so any reduction in the number of British MPs should begin with seats for those countries before any English seats are considered, _if_ a reduction in the overall number is thought necessary, and I do not agree that it is for England.

          2) The Scotch parliament and Northern Irish and Welsh assemblies can be described as unnecessary but they operate in the ‘U’K arena and not the English. England is the only country that concerns me, and I think five hundred and thirty three MPs about right for fifty three million people, which is the population of England at a minimum (it could be very much higher, possibly seventy million).

          2) I wish the ‘U’K to withdraw from the EU so arguments that cite its role in ‘U’K governance are void as far as I am concerned. Further, I cannot see that reducing the number of England MPs in 2018 following a possible ‘yes to exit’ vote in 2017 is sensible. It certainly does not follow from your observation regarding the role of the EU in British law making.

          3) There are no regional assemblies in England, unless you consider our capital to be a ‘region’ (I do not). That aside, while the GLA is considerably less cumbersome than the GLC, twenty five members for a population in excess of eight million is nothing more than a board of directors implementing policy and in no sense representative or democratic. Parity with England at Westminster would mean more than eighty members while parity with Scotland at Holyrood would require approximately two hundred and eight, or more than eight times the present number.

          4) You seem to have confused the number of bureaucrats with the number of bureaucratic tiers, which is not the same thing and reducing the number of the former does not require the elimination of any of the latter. Furthermore, a perception that there are too many British MPs is not justification for eliminating tiers of governance, although I would like to see the British government entirely eliminated and replaced by an English one.

          5) While I agree that there are far too many people employed by the local authorities and county councils and far too much money squandered by them, and the scope of those organisations’ activities is far too broad, the number of them does not need reducing. I think the present number of borough / district and county councils is appropriate.

          6) ‘ … too many MPs which could be transformed into front line services.’ How so? The last proposal was for a reduction to six hundred, meaning fifty fewer; a saving of about five million pounds in salaries and expenses, with no reduction in the cost of the parliamentary estate or the bureaucracy you’ve alluded to. I suspect that five million pounds not would cover the annual cost of front line services’ photocopier paper, certainly not its stationery order.

          It is difficult to understand your observation.

        • William Gruff
          Posted September 13, 2014 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

          Hope:

          My lengthy reply seems to have been deleted. If so there is no point in resubmitting it. The gist of it was that your assertions make no sense to me.

          Our confusion is therefore mutual.

          • William Gruff
            Posted September 14, 2014 at 12:50 am | Permalink

            Clearly I was labouring under a misapprehension: my lengthy comment had not been deleted.

            My apologies to whomever moderates the comments for any irritation I may have caused him or her.

            Reply I do the moderation myself. I usually leave long comments until I have enough time to read them properly. I also delay comments with references to other websites as these take time to check – unless the references are to safe sites like government and EU official reports etc

    • Jim Crossley
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      In 1918, Sinn Fein won just over 70% of all Irish seats in the Commons, but Ireland (or 26 counties of it) wasn’t just given independence. The British state signed away 26 counties, extremely reluctantly, 3-4 years later, only after a bitter and bloody conflict. Even then, the 26 counties remained a dominion of the British Empire. Full independence came in 1931, and the country stayed in the Commonwealth until 1949.

    • outsider
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      Dear Mike, You are right. But like other huge changes under Messrs Attlee, Macmillan and Heath and under Mrs Thatcher, these generally require leaders of vision or at least driven by a purpose beyond electoral success. For the past 25 years we have had only electoral slogans (the Third Way/Stakeholder Society, the Big Society, One Nation Labour) that are completely empty. Begging Mr Redwood’s pardon, I do not see any man or woman of vision or purpose leading one of the senior parties before or after the 2015 election.

  3. Clive
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Direct democracy is needed – compulsory voting by all citizens done electronically for any major national or even local issues with results available within 24 hours. More layers of expensive local bureaucracy unnecessary with modern technology.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      It should not be compulsory, but indeed with technology we should ask people more. Had we asked the people we could have avoided the Millennium Dome, the ERM, Blair’s & Cameron’s absurd Wars, HS2, most of the disastrous EU treaties, unselective & uncontrolled immigration, 3 times the cost green crap energy and countless other government disasters or expensive white elephants.

      • Richard1
        Posted September 13, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        Green crap has just cost us all another few £ms unnecessarily. The univ of Nottingham, in order to be green, has built its new chemistry lab out of wood. Very sadly it burnt down last night. Can anyone imagine a private company having to finance itself in the market housing a highly inflammable processes in a wooden building? This is what happens in the public sector when ideology such a global warming trumps common sense.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted September 13, 2014 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, needless to say it was supposed to be “sustainable” and “Carbon neutral”.

          Alas it did not prove as sustainable nor as carbon neutral as they thought. Doubtless it cost far more than needed to build it too.

          Was it to be covered in PV cells, sedum roofs and with a toy windmill outside – as is the fashion in the “money to burn” state sector I wonder?

    • William Gruff
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      ‘ … compulsory voting by all citizens … ‘

      How to answer this without employing sarcasm or what may be perceived as an ad hominem attack is an intellectual exercise almost equal to that of answering the ultimate question posed by Douglas Adams, and I’m not sure I can write anything the moderator will pass. I will just say, though, that the answer does seem, self-evidently to me, to lie in the contradiction inherent in a proposal to compel voters to participate in a ‘democratic’ election.

      • bluedog
        Posted September 14, 2014 at 2:14 am | Permalink

        The Australians have had compulsory voting for years. You may need to broaden your sources of reference.

        • William Gruff
          Posted September 14, 2014 at 11:57 am | Permalink

          Non sequitur.

          The breath of my ‘sources of reference’ (God alone knows what you mean by that and why you wrote it) is irrelevant to my observation that compulsory voting is fundamentally undemocratic, which is a personal point of view, not a ‘fact’ needing references. That apart, that the Australians have been compelling people to vote for years does not make it less so.

          I should stop shooting from the lip were I you: you’re simply shooting yourself in the foot.

  4. Clive
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    PS We don’t need an expensive English Parliament either, set up video TC facilities at MP’s homes with local secretarial staff and make many expenses redundant.

    • William Gruff
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      We do need an English Parliament (well done for using a capital P there) and the expense is wholly irrelevant since we spend considerably more, per capita on the various talking shops set up as sops to the peoples of the little nations of this risibly misnamed ‘United’ Kingdom, and give away eye-wateringly large sums, for no nett gain, to the EU, NATO, the UN and overseas aid – the latter at or heading for twelve thousand million pounds sterling, in accordance with the wishes of our Anglophobic Scotch/Welsh British prime minister, and so on.

      While I think that parliamentary democracy may become an exercise in meaningless popular theatre by the means you suggest, I have proposed and advocate both the use of contemporary information technology to ascertain the wishes of constituents and the complete control of MPs by independent constituency organisations that provide everything an MP needs to do his job: offices, accommodation, staff, expenses, travel arrangements and so on.

      I’m also in favour of abolishing general elections and allowing time and the vicissitudes of life to jumble things so that, eventually, a perpetual cycle of bye-elections will obtain, and no organisation could possibly afford the cost of a permanent election campaign, nor could the term of a parliament be extended by an effectively unaccountable ‘executive’.

      • clive
        Posted September 14, 2014 at 6:21 am | Permalink

        Not sure I follow your logic – money is wasted elsewhere so don’t try cost savings. Quite touching that you don’t think we have already reached the meaningless popular theatre stage.

        Standard provision of necessary office facilities for MP by state with full transparency re costs & expenses is good idea.

        • William Gruff
          Posted September 14, 2014 at 10:19 am | Permalink

          I’m not sure I follow your logic: I haven’t advocated not making economies because ‘money is wasted elsewhere’; I have asserted, in contradiction to your cost based opposition to an EP, that the cost of an English Parliament is irrelevant given the amount of English tax payers’ money the British government happily spends on the devolved assemblies and other organisations, and your objection might carry more weight were you to advocate dismantling the existing devolved assemblies and leaving those organisations, which you haven’t. Compared to the cost of EU membership, an EP cannot but be relatively small change, certainly less than the present cost of British governance.

          While parliament may currently be something of a tawdry exercise in popular theatre, it is still far from meaningless and I can’t help thinking that your original comment and subsequent response to my reply betray a wish to make it so. The conduct and activities of our MPs may be less than we expect of them, the remedy is not to remove them altogether from the arena of Westminster and make them effectively nothing more than home based corporate out-workers.

          I ceased long ago to be surprised by the obvious impracticability of the practical suggestions of practical people.

  5. The Prangwizard
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Thank you Mr Redwood. I’m just about to leave for our conference today at Leicester, heartened.

  6. alan jutson
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Agree with much of what you say JR.

    The only sensible way for the UK now to continue is for Devomax for all Countries in the UK, with all Countries to have the same rights and powers as each other, and for a UK Parliament (made up of the separate Countries Mp;s) to cover such combined things as Defence, border controls, etc.

    Given the above, we will not want as many people in the house of Lords as we have now, as there will be far, far less for them to do.

    English MPs can sit in Westminster as they do now, so no need for any new buildings.

    When coming together for UK policy discussion, all could still be accommodated at Westminster as they are now, just rather less often.

    I see no reason at the moment why we would want to devolve power to any Regions or Cities, as surely their local Mp’s would represent their interests within an English, Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish Parliament.

    Given the above, clearly we would need constituencies to be of a sensible and similar size throughout the UK, so that we get meaningful representation.

    Given the above, I would see more than 75% of business being able to be done at National level with leaders elected from the majority Party in all Countries.

    Clearly any new system will have its problems with regards to settling in, but sure that these could be ironed out given time and goodwill by all concerned.

    Looks like interesting times ahead, because now the Devomax Genie is out of the bottle, there is no way we can put it back, so it has to be the same for all, or nobody.

    The only argument that can be had now, is how much power will be given to all devolved Countries, and what will remain under Joint UK control.

  7. Posted September 13, 2014 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for voicing what is in the hearts of the people of England, JR.

    The English have not spoken yet. The fiends in Whitehall ignore them at their peril.

  8. Old Albion
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Agreed. An English parliament with powers equal to the Scottish parliament (assuming they don’t leave)
    Any power for regions or cities, should filter down from the EP.
    The Welsh assembly should rise to Parliament level too.
    But I would go further; scrap the House of Lords (massive financial saving) Replace it with a federal body for reserved matters. Using equal representation from all four (possibly three) countries.

    • William Gruff
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      ‘ … Using equal representation from all four (possibly three) countries.’

      Could you explain what you mean by ‘equal’. The word may be taken to mean that all three or four countries have the same number of delegates, meaning that the fifty three million and more people of England are perpetually outvoted in ‘British’ matters by the approximately four million people of Northern Ireland and Wales combined. You surely don’t mean that?

      This is not as absurd a question as it may seem. Advocates of a federal structure for the ‘United’ Kingdom always maintain that it is ‘the only way to go’ (usually as a replacement for the House of Lords although what of its present functions a federal body would exercise is not at all apparent nor ever explained) without ever apparently seeing that if it is in any way representative it cannot but perpetuate the causes for complaint that led to its creation.

      The only viable alternative to a ‘United’ Kingdom governed by a single parliament is dissolution and independence for all of its constituents. Anything else simply perpetuates the existing problems.

      That apart, what has England to gain from a federal relationship with countries that are dependent upon us and why should we consider one?

      • Posted September 13, 2014 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

        I take your point, but the reverse is also true, the people of Scotland, Wales and NI would always be outvoted by the English in a UK Parliament. We will need some process to make representation in the UK parliament sort of equal for the nations.

        • William Gruff
          Posted September 14, 2014 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think you have taken my point which is:

          A situation in which the peoples of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, total population approximately nine and a half million, are constantly out-voted by the fifty three million (at least that number and probably considerably more) is inevitable in any truly democratic institution, however disagreeable to the little nations, who cannot conceive of any other interest than their own narrow national ones. A situation in which the reverse obtains is in no sense democratic. Neither is acceptable or stable and both merely reproduce the present status quo. In any British federal system, one of those situations cannot but result. A system that is always ‘fair’ to everyone is impossible. Whatever is constructed is going to be ‘unfair’ to someone, somewhere, all the time, and the best that can be achieved is the least possible ‘unfairness’ to the fewest possible people. It is never going to be ‘fair’ to sacrifice the national interest of the overwhelming majority to the national interests of an economically insignificant minority that cannot, even under the present constitutional arrangements, understand or accept that they should ever suffer any sort of disadvantage, however minor, in order that the English do not. Ergo, a federal ‘U’K is not a practical proposition.

          Could you explain why ‘we will need some process to make representation in the UK parliament sort of equal for the nations.’ Could you also explain who ‘we’ are. In the settlement I wish for, ‘we’ are the people of England, not the ‘United’ Kingdom, which, I hope, will soon cease to be, with the little nations foreign lands in the same relationship to us as any other country.

          • Posted September 15, 2014 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

            I fully understood you William, we are talking about an English parliament and its place in a federal UK after a NO vote and further devolution to Scotland. What would be the point of a federal UK if England could always rule the roost, Scotland would then certainly go independent. (It will anyway and more devolution will only fan the flames)

            The argument advanced is that England must be balkanised because it is too big for a federation to work as the other states will always be outvoted. If we do not want England to be broken up and we still want to have a United Kingdom but built on different lines “we” (that is us, the people of these islands) have to come up with a sensible working alternative.

            In a sense each state within a federation is equal to any other, regardless of size. For instance in the EU (regardless of any other consideration) the parliament represents the people, the council represents the states and the commission represents the EU. The council representing the states consists of the Heads of State or Government of the Member States, voting rights vary according to the respective size of the state, but is weighted to favour the smaller states, not one state has a blocking or forcing majority on its own.

      • bluedog
        Posted September 14, 2014 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

        WG @ 2pm says, ‘Advocates of a federal structure for the ‘United’ Kingdom always maintain that it is ‘the only way to go’ (usually as a replacement for the House of Lords although what of its present functions a federal body would exercise is not at all apparent nor ever explained) without ever apparently seeing that if it is in any way representative it cannot but perpetuate the causes for complaint that led to its creation.’
        Let’s start by looking at the House of Lords in its original iteration, which was very close in a functional sense to the US Senate. The King appointed Lords from his immediate circle, either family members or trusted knights who were enobled, and who would hold responsibility for a county. As so many of these county based Earls and subsequently Dukes became inter-related, a hereditary managerial class arose in the form of an aristocracy. As the power of the monarch became threatened by over-mighty aristocratic subjects, new competing earls were created by the monarch as separate power centres in each county or other administrative area, such as an important city like Dover. The important thing to understand is that each county was represented by an earl to the executive, being the monarch. The original House of Lords could therefore have been described as a ‘counties house’. The question of the Commons having representation did not arise. The US Senators, two per state, represent their Senate to the President, whose function is that of an elected Monarch.

        The ‘counties house’ function has been lost by the House of Lords wherein the numbers have expanded until at the end of the Hereditary period there were about 8 peers per county. Following the emasculation of this unrepresentative hereditary body in 1911, the principle function of the Lords was legislative review. This remains the function although the whole membership of the upper house has been debauched by bizarre appointments; consider the mother of Stephen Lawrence as a case in point.

        It should now be apparent that a federal Senate does not represent the same interest as the House of Commons, and that for a simple reason. If two elected houses represent the same interest, a civil war results. This was the weakness of the Clegg proposal for Lords Reform, although none of the British Cabinet at the time seemed equipped to reach this conclusion.

        Within any federation the lower house is in effect, the House of Commons, needs to be the seat of the government and reflects the will of the people, not the separate interests of the states/provinces comprising the federation.

        Unlike the US, the UK is a parliamentary democracy with a monarch as head of state, attributes which are in themselves highly successful and need to be retained. The dominion parliaments of Canada and Australia are based on federal constitutions with the monarch as head of state, and may point the way ahead for the UK.

  9. Richard1
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Let’s focus on something that’s achievable. What would clearly be achievable is English MPs only voting and speaking on English issues, matching the devolution for Scotland. But where does the buck stop financially? Scotland (and Wales) will no doubt vote in socialist politicians under devomax. What happens when they can’t finance their spending? Will they be able to borrow on a non recourse basis? Will the UK allow default on such debt? Or will there in the end be transfers as now from the English taxpayer? We must have answers to these questions as well as to the question of powers.

    • Llew
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      The idea of Wales being financially dependent on England is an anathema to me. It may have a great deal to do with the condecending and patronising views of those in the “UK” Government over the centuries that has lead to my country either being exploited for its’ resources or simply ignored and patted to one side. This is why I want a Welsh Parliament which is responsible for raising its’ own finances – I want us to stand on our own two feet, no assistance required thank you very much. I see the value of British political union so a federal UK is emminently sensible as far as I’m concerned.

      • Richard1
        Posted September 14, 2014 at 8:03 am | Permalink

        If we had a federal structure and there really wasn’t automatic subsidy and transfer it could lead to an economic renaissance in Wales and Scotland. The nations would compete eg to make themselves attractive to investors. Wales would find it had many competitive advantages currently unexploited. But it would need kicking out the kind of people now in charge.

      • Bob McMahon
        Posted September 14, 2014 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        It’s a good idea, but you’ll have the devil’s own job getting Carwyn Jones to agree to it.

  10. Antisthenes
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Of course the left do not want an English parliament and it is quite obvious why but perhaps they should as it would no doubt have it’s MPs elected by some kind of proportional representation. In which case the left will have less fear of losing as much influence as they would if it remained a first past the post electoral system. Then the left are not renown for clear thinking or sensible decision making so will look to have a system that they will perceive as given them the maximum advantage at the cost of democracy and the rights of English citizens.

    As for elected mayors I believe that should be encouraged (there are many benefits for having them as London demonstrates) but not regional assemblies as that is just putting another layer of government on top of the far too many we have already have apart from other disadvantages.

    • William Gruff
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      There is no case for ‘proportional’ representation, which, at best, simply mitigates the undemocratic party system and results in endless compromise, and actually places even more power in the hands of party leaders, particularly those from unelectable or undesirable minority or fringe parties. Making MPs wholly and solely accountable to their constituents is the answer, not PR.

  11. formula57
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    I strongly support your views: England must have a proper parliament of its own.

    Of course, had the Scottish voters the courage and self-confidence to prove themselves worthy of Alex’s leadership by making Scotland a separate country (which they will not), a proper settlement in the remaining UK would be both less necessary and simpler to achieve as well as relieving us of the many burdens and liabilities that keeping Scotland imposes (even including it seems subsidizing Scottish deliveries by Waitrose for those who are customers in England!). It is a great pity that history, sentiment and (even less clearly now) politics all apparently demand Scotland remains in the Union.

    With luck Mr Clegg’s poor proposal becomes a pledge so that he will then ignore it if in power.

    • William Gruff
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      ‘ … It is a great pity that history, sentiment and (even less clearly now) politics all apparently demand Scotland remains in the Union.’

      We in England are in the happy position of being able to kick Scotland out of the ‘union’ if we choose; the Scotch are not. We need only to be aware of that to exert whatever leverage we wish upon that querulous and ungrateful people. ‘Shut up and put up or we will put you out’ ought to be the basis of English attitudes to and relations with the Scotch (and the Welsh and Northern Irish), rather than the effete British ‘please don’t go, you can have whatever you want if you’ll just stay’ pleading.

  12. Posted September 13, 2014 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Cleggie and the Lib Dums need to be reminded that England gave the Tories a mandate in 2010 and therefore they should keep their duplicitous, treacherous, petulant noses out of matters concerning England.The best thing your party now do now is call an end to this disastrous coalition and spend the next few months campaigning to give the English their own full time dedicated English parliament, preferably before the next election. It’s sure to be a big vote winner.

    Of course the problem you have is that Cameron is a Lib Dum himself so no way is he going to do that or indeed address the English Question if his silence on the matter and his anti-English rhetoric so far is anything to go by.

    John, will you tell us which of you colleagues, (who have all been equally silent on the matter), if any, support you or at least tell us how many of them there are?

    Reply I have written round to more than 100 so far and none of them have expressed disagreement with the need to speak for England

    • JoolsB
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      With respect John, 100 of them not disagreeing is not quite the same as coming out like you and declaring the need for an English Parliament. I would suggest they are all gutless and more interested in not rocking the boat and their cushy little numbers than doing what’s right for their constituents. 100 out of 500 plus MPs with English seats is an outrage. Looks like you’re on your own John, Good luck.

    • William Gruff
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Forget the [il]Liberal [un]Democrats, the Conservative and Unionist Party needs to be ‘reminded that England gave the Tories a mandate in 2010’ and now seems highly unlikely to be given one in 2015.

      We’ll get a better idea in the months to come as some of the rats make the leap to more seaworthy vessels, as undoubtedly some will.

      Reply to Reply: I know you don’t need to be told that not expressing disagreement is not the same as expressing agreement, even though it may be taken to be such. How those colleagues of yours actually vote, and where they end up is all that really matters and we can have no confidence that those who have not expressed agreement will vote as we wish.

  13. Andyvan
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    The simplest method is to end the union. Parliament would be our regional government. Why spend enormous sums setting up yet another extravagant, time wasting layer of government? We already have massively too much of that. Westminster could be much smaller as could all the ministries and quangos that suck the blood from the real economy. Just do away with whole levels of government then local decisions would be taken locally because there would be no overbearing, interfering jobsworths from some department in London.

    • William Gruff
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      ‘ … Why spend enormous sums setting up yet another extravagant, time wasting layer of government … ‘

      Firstly, that layer was created in 1998. All the establishment of an English Parliament can do is to fill the vast hole in it over England. Filling it cannot but result in an equally vast reduction in the ‘British’ layer, to the extent that it could usefully be dismantled.

      Secondly, there are no unnecessary layers of government within the ‘United’ Kingdom, other than the topmost and arguably the bottom most (the parish councils), merely bloated, inefficient, impotent and effectively unaccountable layers infested with various forms of parasitic life. All that’s needed is a good strong purge and a healthy regime of real accountability, not wholesale amputation, except at the ‘British’ level (the fish’s rotted head).

      Thirdly, the British government has worked assiduously to ensure that many of the ‘interfering jobsworths’ are a long way from London, both geographically and sentimentally.

  14. Ian wragg
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    I see the English are going to be compelled to pay 0.7% GDP in foreign aid as proposed by a jock mp. Defence is being cut and the debt is £1.4 trillion. CMD really is making sure he throws the next election. Meanwhile the rest of the rabble is trying to Balkanise England at the EU, s behest. Only 33 weeks to go John. Farage sends his thanks.

  15. Yorkshire Lass
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    But you surely know why the Lib Dems want England broken into smaller pieces? Known as the Schadenfreude Speech, in which their then Leader boasted that he was laughing at the English, he concluded,

    Scotland has a Parliament.
    Wales an Assembly.
    Northern Ireland, soon I hope, a working Assembly too.
    In England, regionalism is growing as never before.
    Calling into question, as it happens, the idea of England itself.

    It’s not about democracy for the Lib Dems. They delight in feeling disgust at England and the English. Nick Clegg himself loves to call English people, “Little Englander.”

    So about fairness and democracy it certainly isn’t and don’t let them get away with it, either.

  16. James Matthews
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Absolutely right.

    • Posted September 13, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      James Matthews I agree. Yorkshire Lass is absolutely right.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Clegg must go and get a change of leader for the Conservative party.

  17. Posted September 13, 2014 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Whilst I fully support Mr Redwood’s statement about the desirability and necessity of a full English Parliament, I cannot help feeling that the political leaders have made an offer to Scotland without the authority of Parliament or the permission of the UK electorate.

    They have offered a gift which is not theirs to give.

    The people of England and their Parliament have no legal or moral obligation to fulfill their offer, unless we decide of our own free will to do so. Do we have a Parliamentary Democracy or a dictatorship?

    • Posted September 13, 2014 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      One cannot help feeling that in allowing Gordon Brown, a Scottish Labour MP to dictate the terms of a “devo max” in Scotland’s favour, that Cameron betrayed the Parliament and people of England. An ill considered, impetuous and foolish act on Cameron’s part.

      The prospects of a successful EU re-negotiation are not looking good.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Good points, NickW.

      The consequences of a “yes” vote look very similar: no sign of the electorate being consulted on the terms a dictatorial government will given Salmon.

    • William Gruff
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      The people of England and their Parliament have no legal or moral obligation to fulfill their offer, unless we decide of our own free will to do so … ‘

      A point that must be reiterated again and again and again until it is accepted as a commonplace and natural point of view. While we in England have no representation at the national level or in the British parliament we cannot be held accountable for any of its commitments on our behalf. Cameron, and anyone who succeeds him, can promise whatever he will, we are not bound by his word while he favours his own kind, ignores our wishes and betrays our interests.

      • David Price
        Posted September 14, 2014 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        And the MP’s in the British Parliament that British people have voted in?

  18. Iain Moore
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Yes the balkanising of England has been shown to be unpopular with the English, trouble is Mr Redwood, they couldn’t care less.

    Its like the EU, where ‘No’ doesn’t mean ‘No’ to them , they just keep trying it on and on in a different from until they find a way of achieving their aim. . The British establishment have decided that England , by hook or by crook, is going to be balkanised , it is just a matter of by what means. They tried it by the official route, the NE referendum, which was rejected, they are now trying it by the back door, with City fiefdoms.

    Of course they can get away with this because there is nobody out there who will say ‘hold on just one moment , what mandate do you have for your city fiefdoms?’ The question won’r come from any Westminster political party, nor will it come from any of the British meida. They peel off some civic leaders of a few cities who like the idea of more power over some of their local services, who aren’t looking at the greater issue of English democracy, and they are used as useful idiots to facilitate the balkanisation of England, without so much as a by you leave to the rest of us.

    But Mr Redwood you cannot just blame this on Clegg, the City fiefdoms are as muchan Clegg idea, as a Cameron and Osborne idea. Your own Conservative is advocating city fiefdoms and the balkanisation of England.

  19. Adam Paul
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    This is why I believe this vote to be an excellent thing. I truly think the English will not be happy unless they also get devolution. This I think would force each region to compete with each other to attract business which would then put a downward pressure on taxes. The UK would become a very business friendly country and also strengthen the link between taxation and representation throughout this country.

    • William Gruff
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      ‘ … This I think would force each region to compete with each other to attract business … ‘

      Forcing artificial ‘regions’ that are not in any sense competitive, except in their consumption of public money, to compete with those that are outstandingly successful, even on the global stage – for whatever reason, cannot but exacerbate the present inequalities, aggravate historic animosities and perceptions of injustice and undermine further the sense of binding shared identity that made England rather more of a green and pleasant land than it is now, in exactly the way that devolution undermined the perception of a united kingdom and started the process of its inevitable dissolution.

      I recall clearly that during the first round of elections for the Greater London mayoralty at least one candidate included a demand for London’s taxes to be spent on and in London and not sent by the trainload for the benefit of those who were never anything but critical of London and Londoners and ungrateful. That position grew, predictably, out of fatuous statements that ‘strong government’ of semi-autonomous regions was the answer to and remedy for often unjustified resentments. The artificially constructed regions of England are going to need some form of redistributive mechanism for many years to come and creating further territorial and cultural barriers to that cannot be helpful. ‘Strong regional government’, itself an unrealisbale fantasy, with people in England set against each other purely on the basis of which part of the country they happen to live in, is not in any English interest, which, just possibly, may be why the Northern Irish, the Scotch and the Welsh are in favour of regionalising England. It cannot but benefit them and cannot but disadvantage us yet further, wherever in England we live or are from.

  20. Mark
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Mr. Clegg’s constituency sits just across the M1 from thoroughly misgoverned Rotherham – and yet he thinks that handing more power to cities is a good idea. The real problem we face is attracting able, honest people into positions of power and control of the services the state provides. There are few enough in Brussels, Parliament and Whitehall as it is – never mind in lower tiers of government, from quangos and devolved national governments down to local councils.

    It’s time we ditched the ineptocracy.

  21. Atlas
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Agreed John.

    P.S. I’ve already been e-mailing my MP on the necessity of a fair-to-the-English solution to the West Lothian problem.

  22. bluedog
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Progress indeed, Dr JR.

    It is an ironic truth that if England had also been devolved in 1996, the insecurities of the Scots would not have become so aggravated. By not devolving England and by leaving England as the core of the United Kingdom, Blair succeeded in placing England on a constitutional pedestal. Cameron’s unforced error of offering Scotland a referendum, without considering simultaneous devolution for England and a federal constitution, was an act of astonishing political ineptitude. But then SSM was much more important, wasn’t it? And anyway, Cameron is a tactical rather than a strategic thinker.

    Indeed, in response to suggestions, commenters on the aggressively nationalist website Wings over Scotland repeatedly say that if we were offered a federal solution, we’d take it. In the event, out-manoeuvred and reacting rather than initiating as is his custom, Cameron has found himself forced into the position of offering Scotland the equivalent of federation through Salmond’s vehicle of devo-max. Despite being offered what he wants, Salmond now rejects Cameron’s offer!

    Sometimes it is necessary to allow the crisis to develop and the worst to happen before taking further remedial action. Building a solid constitutional base within the UK through the introduction of an English Parliament, whichever way Scotland votes, is work worth doing. The only place for the English Parliament to sit is the Palace of Westminster. A new parliament must be built at a non-London location for the UK Parliament.

    The garden city of Liverpool , close to the geographic centre of the British Isles, awaits.

    • David Price
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      Isn’t Leicester closer to the centre of population? (I don’t live there)

      • bluedog
        Posted September 13, 2014 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        Leicester may well be close to the centre of population, but that is not the point.

        The proposal in this instance is to move the capital of the United Kingdom to a city that has the potential to be equally acceptable to England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Liverpool has strong demographic connections to all four nations, Leicester does not. Liverpool is politically neutral and therefore has the potential to become a shared meeting place, a new place without historical baggage or association.

        • David Price
          Posted September 13, 2014 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

          Sorry, I misread what you wrote. I think the UK parliament and administration should remain in London, I think the English Parliament and administration ought to be out of London and being in the CoP would be a good start and indication that the different parts of ENgland would get a more even treatment.

    • William Gruff
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      That the seat of government is closer to the Isle of Skye and the Isle of Anglesey and further away from the Isle of Wight or the Isle of Sheppey does not make it any more accountable, representative or democratic, and calls to move the capital to another city at or near what is thought to be the centre of the country seem invariably to be founded on nothing more substantial than a puerile desire to prise southerners’ greedy fingers off the glittering prize that is thought to be government. The reality is that much of what government does is carried on far from London, with the ‘neglected’ English ‘regions’ and the ‘Celtic’ nations occupying far more government time and consuming far more of its energy and tax payers’ money than their contributions to the exchequer, the balance of payments and our standard of living merit.

      While the offices in which they polish their backsides are often sited in London, the mandarins controlling the levers are more often not from there or the South East, or anywhere near, and their identities, allegiances and loyalties, and consequently their thinking and favours, are about, in, of, from and to places other than London and the South East. There is no ‘logic’ at all in moving the capital elsewhere. Government is remote because it ignores those it purports to represent, not because the buildings in which it works are located away from the dead geographical centre of a particular polity.

      • David Price
        Posted September 13, 2014 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for your feedback, you are entitled to your opinion – purile, blinkered, hidebound or otherwise.

        If a new government is to attempt to avoid the mistakes of the past then it needs to do things differently. So why not look at new ways and new places of doing the business of government. Why be constrained by an ancient and/or flawed model.

        A Parliament in the English CoP, for example, means that MPs had better have the same extent of expenses or show the reason why not. It also means it is equally accessible for all voters to go to the central lobby and demand to talk to their MP, It can signal a different perspective of the government of it’s electorate.

        Why should it be more of the same and just making things easy for journalists and lobbyists?

      • bluedog
        Posted September 13, 2014 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

        William Gruff says, ‘There is no ‘logic’ at all in moving the capital elsewhere.’

        You will think that only if you do not understand the importance of symbolism, as the Americans did with Washington in the District of Columbia and the Australians did with Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory.

        Politics is all about perception. Listen with humility to what the Scots are saying and you will realise that their perceptions have evolved to become different to those of the rest of the British. Very dangerous for the UK and the reason for Salmond’s success.

        Follow your arguments to their logical conclusion and we should not complain if the capital is in Brussels, Berlin or Beijing. It’s just a puerile prize after all.

        • David Price
          Posted September 14, 2014 at 7:07 am | Permalink

          @Bluedog
          You make the point perfectly. Creating a new parliament in the same old place will suggest very strongly that it will follow the same old broken ways.

    • ramclean
      Posted September 23, 2014 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      The National Parliament has always been in London. If an English Parliament took over in London and the national parliament was set up elsewhere, then all the institutions and bodies connected to the national government would have to move. Everything from the Bank of England to the American Embassy would have to follow.

      It is the English Parliament which would be the new institution, and this should be set up somewhere outside the south east, centrally located with respect to the whole of England and with good communications. Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield or Birmingham would be good choices.

  23. oldtimer
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    I agree. Mr Clegg sounds like and is the EU representative in Parliament. He is there to push the EU regional assemblies agenda – Huhne was another one parachuted in after a stint as MEPs to undermine the UK. Clegg deserves to be defeated at the next GE.

  24. Nick
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    More tax solves everything from the Queen’s STD to general economic malaise.

    More politicians solve everything from recessions to being ugly.

    Completely wrong.

    Politicians and tax are the problem.

    From your hidden 7,200 bn debts that you can’t pay and won’t admit too, to taxing it if it moves, if it doesn’t, …..

    You are the problem. You are not the solution.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      Tax, borrow and piss down the drain, as practised by Lib/Lab/Con is indeed the main problem. Over (and usually incompetent) regulation and pointless wars do not help either. Nor do the virtual state monopolies in Heath & Education or the augmentation of the feckless with benefits.

      • David Price
        Posted September 14, 2014 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        You keep saying this a if they are the only ones, or do you believe Farage et al operated in the EP solely on fairy dust?

        Electing UKIP will not solve the problem, the problem is institutionalised. You would have to get rid of the paraphenalia, senior civil servants, charity heads, lobbyists etc. UKIP MPs will be in the same situation as existing MPs and have the same political mindset except for wanting out of the EU. This does not address the English issue at all nor revitalise democracy for this country.

  25. Posted September 13, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Mr Clegg loves to spend our money.

    I can imagine that his cities idea will create yet more mini-empires that can be built up on the backs of the workers you pay for it.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Yes, more red tape and more local council workers (more than my jobs worth) taking more local taxes and costing us dearly. Similar to the situation in Scotland where the public sector is out of control. Never mind, let the people pay!

  26. a-tracy
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Bravo John, the issue is no longer Scotland alone, the issue now is England post realising that we are not as United as the English have all been led to believe. I don’t think the Scots have realised that if the English voted they’d probably get their independence against the political will now because we’re sick of taking the blame for every problem the Scots have.

    Why can’t we have a referendum on what we want now?

  27. Alison Hood
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    You seem to be expressing the thoughts of my age group,(retired) I think an E Petition as there was for Coalition For Marriage would show huge support for your proposals for England. There seems to be an undercurrent of anger about the historic lack of consideration by politicians for the English, greater powers for the cities is no answer. Thank you for speaking out on our behalf.

  28. Posted September 13, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Dr. Redwood, in his recent posts, together with many who comment on his words here and many more who comment on similar political blogs, continue to suggest an assortment of changes to the arrangements currently existing in the relationships between the components of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The suggestions range across political opinion and reflect the views of all political parties currently active within the nation. All are concerned with fairness.

    What is so strange to this observer is that all this cacophony of voices, with their multiplicity of choices designed to improve the current mess, completely ignore what has been set before them over some hundreds of years, in the written components of our historic constitution.

    Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat Parties continue to flout the constitution, treasonously giving away sovereignty which is not their possession, suggesting that they have power to change the constitution’s terms, inventing un-thought-out changes which bring yet more problems and substituting partisan referenda to move responsibility from their own shoulders to a manipulated electorate.

    The English Constitution, accepted in principle by the Welsh, Ulstermen and Scots after consultation to agree their particular circumstances, contains all the written safeguards needed to ensure the freedom and fairness on which this nation has been founded.

    Where previous rulers have departed from the terms, it is return to constitutional law which has provided the correction. It can do so now, if those who profess to represent our people return to the rule of law. We do not need a multiplicity of new ideas – just return to the law which is common to us all and which all in public office have sworn to uphold.

    There is a saying that those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad. The current constitutional shambles suggests the truth of that saying and that the process is far advanced in our case.

    John Wrake.

  29. Posted September 13, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I commend your efforts to make sure that it is up to the English to decide for England . To date the English have subsidised the devolved Scots and this disproportionate way of deciding and doing things has to stop . If Scotland decides to remain in the Union and obtains the right to control all or part of its taxation , Scottish MPs must be excluded from voting on English affairs . I suspect that Wales and Northern Ireland will be in the queue for “extras” leading to a chaotic state of overall management and control . Getting rid of the devolved governments is the simplest solution . The future looks to me to be a convoluted affair of a segregated Westminster dealing with different national matters at different times and dates . What a mess we are in !! . In the past I was called in to many organisations where things had become disorderly ; my recommendation was always to clean up the “top” , get rid of the faulty direction and management , bring in experienced and capable people and , start again .

    • Posted September 13, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      “If Scotland decides to remain in the Union and obtains the right to control all or part of its taxation–“.

      With rights go responsibilities.

      Parliament has to protect the English from the inevitable demands and threats when Salmond fails to match expenditure to income, which is as predictable as night following day.

      It needs to be clear that the English Parliament will not raise new debt to pay Scotland’s bills, and will not underwrite any new Scottish debt either.
      Given that this Government has completely failed on its fiscal promises, and that the whole of the UK is run on a perpetual motion machine of borrowed money, the negotiations look complex, if not comically absurd. The arrangement will have to be that if Scotland is even more profligate and extravagant in their spending than England, that Scotland will have to borrow the extra themselves. Quite where and how these limits are set is going to be a bit of a problem.

      Cameron is dangerously and absurdly wrong on another point too; “We must rush through devolution legislation as soon as possible”. were his words.

      It is high time for Parliament to dig in its heels and refuse to pass legislation unless it has been properly considered with nothing overlooked. This is far too important to be subjected to the usual haste, three line whips and banning of debate.

      If English MP get it wrong they will be out of a job, whoever and wherever they are. The English people have been kicked in the teeth once too often.

  30. Excalibur
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    I concur absolutely, JR. The Palace of Westminster is the natural home for the English national parliament. My view is that Nicholas Clegg has a disproportionate say. He is entitled to his views, but the Liberal Democrats generally receive more media coverage than they deserve. We do not need more layers of government.
    George Galloway has an interesting piece in the Independent today on the subject of Scottish independence. His final para is worth repeating here:
    “It didn’t have to come to this; none of the angst and turmoil, the divisions, even among families. Britain’s political class may have achieved what Hitler failed to do. Destroyed Britain. As the late Scottish comedian Duncan Macrae put it. “They didnae ken. They ken noo!””

  31. forthurst
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Should England be divided into Sales Regions with no historical geopolitical resonance? The Governance of England should be decided exclusively by the English through their own parliament; without tax raising powers beyond the community charge, parking and licences for everything, there seems little point in tiers above county.

  32. T.J.
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Absolutely.

    However, what we need far more than an English parliament is an English executive. The extent to which the executive drives the agenda may well be less than desirable, however it is there and is (in the short-run) unavoidable. Clearly this should not duplicate the British, but a far smaller British executive (F.C.O., M.o.D., &c.) sitting alongside devolved administrations in the nations (explicitly not the regions); would restore a balance to the constitution which has been lacking since the process of devolution began.

  33. Alan
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    If the Scots vote for independence it could solve the ‘West Lothian Question’ PDQ.

    Yes, we need an English parliament and I suggest English assemblies based on the old Anglo Saxon kingdoms Wessex, Northumbria etc. Wales and N Ireland should have the option to join or become independent.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      Of course you’d suggest breaking up England, and it’s because people like you will never give up we must have a single parliament for the whole of England.

  34. David Price
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Agree with your position, mostly.

    I think this is a rare opportunity to reboot the country. We have a lot of history but why be completely bound by it, especially as some has led to old scores and sores.

    There is a British constitution but why be constrained by it existing in it’s current form or even its content. Are there more recent examples that might have a more suitability to our aspirations?

    I believe that any contract between individuals and the state needs to be straightforward and understandable, the US constitution appeals in that regard but I can hear the cringing of the lawyers and constitution geeks.

    For an English constitution do we really need to involve those who it has no effect on?

    • David Price
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Should have added – I think there needs to be an English parliament ouside of Westminster which could remain the UK federal centre. It wouldn’t hurt to establish the English parliament at the centre of population and therefore voters, which would likely be near Leicester.

      This might encourage and facilitate a more inclusive government of all parts of England, not just London.

      • bluedog
        Posted September 13, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        It is time for the British political class to educate itself in the functioning of a federation. You don’t have to go to the US or Australia to do so. Germany has a federal constitution and so does Spain, where the constitution is a monarchical derivative of the German constitution.

        It is important to understand the construction of states, their rights and responsibilities, and the construction of the federal authority and its rights and responsibilities. The essential attribute is that the underlying states have equal rights and responsibilities and meet as equals in a house in which they and they alone are represented, the Senate or upper house. Note the US Senate has just 100 members, two for each state irrespective of size. Population determines representation in the lower house.

        The United Kingdom has been on a downward spiral since 1916 and seems on the brink of complete self-destruction. Possibly time to try another model.

        • David Price
          Posted September 14, 2014 at 7:00 am | Permalink

          I think it behoves us all to take an interest and we all, especially the politicians, have a lot to learn, and quickly.

        • William Gruff
          Posted September 15, 2014 at 12:17 am | Permalink

          A cynic might observe that you seem concerned to place the economically and culturally irrelevant ‘Celtic’ fringe on an ‘equal’ footing with England. What is the benefit to England of a federal relationship with the dependent little nations?

          The ‘United’ Kingdom is a fiction and Britishness is meaningless. For the people of England only England offers any hope of sorting out the mess the British have made of our no longer green and pleasant land. Dissolution of the ‘union’ is the only way to save England and the fate of the little nations is irrelevant.

          Here’s to independence for England.

          • bluedog
            Posted September 15, 2014 at 7:08 am | Permalink

            ‘What is the benefit to England of a federal relationship with the dependent little nations?’

            They may not be dependent, and they certainly have no wish to be. The benefit to England of what you dismiss as the culturally and economically Celtic fringe is twofold. In the first instance their economies are important markets for England, and vice versa. In second, the British Isles are just that, and if you have ever studied British history you will know that any foreign power that seeks to subjugate England is invariably tempted to establish a lodgement within or an alliance with Scotland or Ireland. The purpose of these lodgements is to neutralise the power of the Royal Navy. Bringing the whole of the British Isles under one polity mitigates that risk.

            Making a wider and cultural point, the period of British expansion that lead to the creation of the USA, Canada, Australia and NZ was done by the United Kingdom, and not just by England. The British relationship with these great English-speaking nations would be diminished and damaged if conducted from a solely English perspective.

            Boris Johnson seems to understand this point very well.

            Do you?

          • David Price
            Posted September 15, 2014 at 11:55 am | Permalink

            But they are not economically and culturally irrelevant and whats more have contributed to our joint history and achievements. They have been partners and allies a lot longer than anyone else, especially the European mainland countries.

            While I believe England needs it’s own parliament I don’t believe that means abandoning the UK and we should never have turned our backs on the Commonwealth to placate the EU. We should continue to look outward to the world and not be such an isolationist country as you prescribe.

          • William Gruff
            Posted September 15, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

            Reply to bluedog:

            There is no ‘reply’ link at the foot of your last comment so I’ll do so here.

            Re. your first point, ‘They may not be dependent‘.

            They are.

            Re. your ‘twofold benefit’ to England of subsidising them:

            In the first instance their economies are important markets for England, and vice versa.

            Those countries produce nothing that we do not or cannot produce in England, and usually better. We buy little other than food from them and what we buy is relatively little of what we consume. Likewise, what English businesses sell in those countries is usually a small part of their total trade, which is not going to stop because we have sloughed off Scotland and Wales. People and businesses in those countries will still need to buy and sell, particularly since we produce a great many things they cannot.

            By contrast, England is by far Scotland’s biggest market (90% of tourists there are English for example) and one to which, currently, they do not have to export. The same applies to Wales. The economies of those countries, post dissolution, would be very seriously affected should we decide to spend our money elsewhere, which, increasingly, we are doing. We are vital to Scotland and Wales while they are of relatively little importance to us as markets.

            In second, the British Isles are just that, and if you have ever studied British history …

            I have studied history, at post-graduate level, have you?

            The rest of your reply is risible tosh.

            1) We live in an age in which people sitting in control rooms in distant parts of the world can read your newspaper while you doze in your garden, or send a pilotless aircraft halfway round the world to kill you from sixty thousand feet. The seas that surround us are no barrier to any would-be conqueror, and the Royal Navy is now in no position to defend them were they otherwise.

            2) The Scotch only ever attacked England when we were engaged with the French or some other foe, and we usually managed to deal with both threats. We even took Berwick-upon-Tweed back, seven times, although we never managed to regain Edinburgh.

            3) The age of wars between European states can reasonably be thought to be over, and Scotland and Ireland are never going to be in a position to annoy us in that way.

            4) The age of ‘expansion’ began before any Scotch king sat on the English throne and there were English colonies in North America and India, and elsewhere, long before the Act of Union. If you’ve studied British history you may have formed a suspicion that the English empire was reasonably well run until the British started meddling with it. I’ve read anecdotes from various people brought up under colonial rule stating that the most disagreeable of the British ruling elites in the colonies were invariably Scotch and Welsh.

            5) The rest of the world, including the Anglosphere, seems incapable of distinguishing between England and Britain (most foreigners seem to think of Wales, if they’ve heard of the place, as an English county) so it is difficult to see how English prestige and the English relationship with ‘these great English-speaking nations would be diminished and damaged if conducted from a solely English perspective.’ The statement is often made that England would be ‘diminished’ by dissolution but the evidence is clear that England is the base for any global prestige Britain retains and England only loses out by union with Scotland, therefore only Scotland can be diminished by dissolution of the union. Regardless, I’ve made clear, repeatedly, that I do not want to ‘diminish’ the ‘British relationship’ with anywhere, I want to end it, so offering it as a counter-argument to mine is fatuous.

            6) Boris Johnson? Now you’re being absurd. If that is what, in your desperation to score points, you are reduced to, this thread is clearly ended, which is what the lack of a reply link might suggest. I’m sure our host is thankful for that.

  35. Posted September 13, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    There’s two ways of handling this:
    (a) Have a list of issues affecting only England on which only English MPs could vote.
    (b) Reduce the number of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland MPs at Westminster.

    Or both.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      On (b), there’s no reason why a citizen resident in one part of the UK should have more or less of a say than a citizen resident in another part of the UK when the UK Parliament is dealing with UK-wide matters. At present a citizen resident in Scotland has almost the same say as a citizen resident in England, while a citizen resident in Wales or Northern Ireland has a significantly greater say.

  36. agricola
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    The devolution of power to English cities is a red herring. If Birmingham and Rochdale are typical, they do not have the calibre of people to make best use of it.

    Any interference by the EU to try to turn England into a series of cantons is an absolute none starter. Clegg and his perfidious rabble will I hope be wiped out in May 2015 so anything he has to say is irrelevant.

    Whichever way the Scottish referendum goes, there is no reason for any Scottish MPs at Westminster after May 2015. Even if they vote no, CMD has promised them so much devolution that they have no relevance at Westminster. When UK questions need debating then members of the Scottish Parliament can be invited south to contribute their thoughts and votes. The H o C should, post May 2015, comprise only MPs from England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

    The thought of different Income Tax rates for different cities is an absolute nightmare. The tax system needs simplification. Looked at from a distance, as I do, political UK seems to be going through a period of insanity. I only hope it emerges fit for purpose after May 2015.

  37. Alan Wheatley
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I think the only practical way forward is devolved parliaments for England, Scotland, N. Ireland and Wales, all with the same authority and responsibilities.

    And while we are about it we do need to equally address all the other territories that come under the UK government but are none of the above.

    Then, to really do the job properly we need to sort out what authority and responsibility is devolved to local government. And sort out the on-going mess that is unitary authorities, County and District councils, and the cities, and any other bits that I haven’t thought of.

    Of course, even if all of the above is successfully implemented there remains “THE BIG ONE” – the money.

  38. mickc
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I agree with your proposals.

    England needs proper representation, not regionalisation.

    The London-centric model has failed badly, it is long past time for a democratic England.

  39. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    An English Parliament would be a good idea if we as a relatively advanced civilization are to continue with the noble philosophy of representative democracy. Democracy in this sense can only work, the urban-myth of it, if people at large actually believe not in the concept of such democracy but in its practical application. They do not. In increased proportion.

    In the last national election a mere 61% of the electorate in the UK, pampered with the ability to vote by post if they so wished, decided on the strenuous effort of making a cross on a piece of paper.

    The well understood lie emanating from local and national politicians is that apathy reigns. No, Her Majesty The Queen reigns. The apathy of which they speak but lightly is a growing-up of our people. They are educated by painful and sorrowful experience that those they elect of whatever party, in the main, follow the same fate as the old adage describes though there are more pithy wordings : ” Give a worker 2 pennies more than his fellow workers and he’ll put on airs and graces. ” Perhaps it is the idea in the heads of the elected that if people are so trusting to someone who they do not know, have never met and simply sign away by the simplicity of a pencilled cross such immense power then they necessarily are unworthy of respect. If this be the reason then one would think the Elected Ones would have respect for the 39% who did not vote. But no, to many politicians the electorate are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Fools to vote and Apathetics if they don’t vote.
    A Parliament for England may reduce the Apathetics’ “vote” for a time in the same way the prospect of a Parliament for Scotland has increased the register of voters in Scotland.
    But a genuine… purge of corruption would do more for belief in Representative Democracy than political house flitting. You never know who the new neighbours are going to be.

  40. Martin C
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Why can’t we simply exclude Scottish MPs from the debate and the divisions in Westminister, on all matters where the competency has been devolved to Holyrood?
    I am aware this would give the Scottish MPs not much to do – but it is after all a bit silly for the Scottish to elect 3 lots of MPs (Westminister MPs, EuroMPs, Scottish Parliament MPs).
    So to rationalise this situation, dismiss all the Scottish Westminister MPs and get Holyrood to select 59 of its members by whatever means it sees fit, to represent Scotland in Westminister for all-UK matters that are not devolved.
    That way, Westminister remains the parliament for the rUK and for the UK as a whole where matters affect the UK as a whole. This completely answers the West Lothian question, to my satisfaction anyway.

  41. Duyfken
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Whilst attracted to the principle of English governance by and only by the English, I question how much a change of this nature will just add yet more costs to us the tax-payers. Any such change might well provide an excuse to increase overall costs, especially if it just adds yet another layer of officialdom (eg police commissioners). An English parliament yes, but not at any cost.

  42. Sarah wood
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m very much in agreement over your wish for an English Parliament. I don’t think it should be moved elsewhere as that would incur expensive building costs. London is our capital city after all. I worry about who will negotiate with the Scots should they vote for independence. The Westminster Parliament contains Scottish MPs and how can they be involved in the negotiations?

    • William Gruff
      Posted September 15, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      Welsh and Northern Irish MPs will also be involved and they have repeatedly shown themselves to be antipathetic to England’s interests. Not only is that antipathy part of their culture, they have a vested interest in agreeing an advantageous settlement for Scotland since doing so sets a precedent for their countries should they opt for independence. Further, they benefit personally through adding to their CVs (‘I got it for Scotland, I can get it for Wales / Northern Ireland’ or ‘vote for me I gave the English a bloody nose’ – such sentiments are regularly expressed by Welsh and Northern Irish politicians).

      There be no legitimate dissolution talks until the people of England have a Parliament with powers at least equal to that of Scotland to defend our interests, and the dissolution referendum should provoke popular demand for one.

  43. ian
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Get two or three good idea together and put them to a referendum, that way you will not have something in posed on you do not like. Otherwise business leaders will lobby for what they want or labour or lib chose with vote in parliament and you lose again. Cleggs is mr hesltine idea to give 60 billion to local areas, the man with a lot of power in the conservative party and they all ready started it so look out.

  44. Chris Green
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood is right, scattered bits of devoltuion for England would create a massive mess and still ignors England. Four Countries Four devolved Parliaments is the best way for all in the UK, it creates equality, democratic accountability, balance and recognition for all the ticked off English who love their Country England. It should be stated immediately. There will be issues over creating the upper house for a federal systems but a balance between, the four Countries can be sought this can be made to happen just get to work on it. An English Parliament would focus on regenration and fairness in England, bits of devovlment cannot do that and will cause infighting and inequality. Litchfield would be a good start for an English Parliament. We support you Mr Redwood.

  45. Margaret
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    What will happen with the Royal Bank of Scotland and its relationship with English solicitors who use it for conveyancing and have customers money in the pipeline in the selling of houses?

  46. Posted September 13, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    I’m all in favour of an English Parliament, but we would need to get rid of some of the other levels of government.
    Assuming Scotland says “No”, we would then have
    1. A UK Parliament
    2. An English Parliament
    3. A County Council
    4. A District Council
    5. A Parish Council

    The last three seem to spend a lot of time passing the buck and producing “consultation” paperwork which they send to the others. A friend who was on the Parish Council claimed that he could spend the equivalent of a whole working week on Parish Council work if he diligently read and commented on all the bumf he received.
    From the public point of view, it is difficult to find “who does what”. Complain to the District Council about a pot-hole, for example, and you are told that that particular road is the County’s responsibility and vice-versa. Raise the issue of a broken seat in the shopping area with the District Council and that’s a problem for the Parish Council although the District Council usually carries out the work. As for pruning roadside trees, this is done by the District after a consultant arborologist sent from the County has provided professional advice.
    Far to many people are involved, duplicating work and causing considerable unnecessary expenditure. Yes, I’m all for an English Parliament, but both any UK National parliament and the local councils will need a complete overhaul if we are not merely to insert another layer of government with yet more add-on costs and duplication of work.

    • Richard1
      Posted September 14, 2014 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      Agreed. Our local govt set up is unbelievably useless as anyone who ever has anything to do with it, eg on planning, can attest.

  47. An Gof
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    The Scots want the same as the rest of us, to take power from the political class, the three main parties, and return it to the people.
    At present the parties, Lib/Lab/Con hold the people in contempt, and can appoint all the members of parliament with only the merest pretence of democratic control. By the foolery of “Representative democracy” they make the people think they have some control over their governance. From this deception follows a huge national political class able to help themselves to pensions, lifelong sinecures, honours and influence.
    Our hope lies in a tiny core of smart people who beaver away at building a new system of Direct Democracy. It will come, it must come.

  48. outsider
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood, You must be right that there should be a Parliament speaking for England.
    From your earlier posts I imagine that would simply be MPs for English constituencies sitting as something like a Grand Committee on the floor of the House of Commons, not a costly separate Parliament. This would be feasible for legislation, with Welsh and Northern Ireland MPs sometimes in and sometimes out with the Scots. But parliament does lots of other things: non-legislative debates, statements, questions, committees, votes of confidence, even the election of a Speaker. What would happen here? What about questions and debates on public spending? And what about the House of Lords, which has many peers from the devolved sub-nations?
    In any case, I feel you underestimate the catastrophic results of a referendum result either way if the votes are as anything like as close as opinion polls suggest.
    If the vote is No, we shall know that a significant proportion of Scots have been whipped up into a visceral hatred of England similar to that still existing among a minority in Northern Ireland, thankfully quietened by the settlement. That is bound to lead to continuous bitter battles for years to come, even if a post-2015 Parliament agrees to “Devo-Max”. Among these battles will be over the companies that still wish to re-register in England. We shall have more “enemies within”.
    If the vote is Yes, there will be substantial communities in “Scotland” (perhaps the Borders, Orkney and Shetland) that wish to have nothing to do with an aggressively nationalistic Scotland and to remain with the rest of us. We cannot morally abandon them and that will bring more strife either way. We are likely to face a Scotland as politically hostile as the Republic of Ireland was for two generations and the position of Northern Ireland is likely to be destabilised again.
    At least, if your advice on the transition earlier this week were followed, the English Parliament issues could be put on the back burner.

    Reply I do not want a Grand Committee of the UK Parliament. My proposal is for an English Parliament with English Ministers. English MPs would also attend the UK Parliament when it met, but this would be a different body.

    • outsider
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Reply.
      Dear Mr Redwood, I can only think that you are making a brilliant reductio ad absurdum argument against “Devo Max”/Home Rule. Your scheme sounds like Russia led by Boris Yeltsin within a USSR led by Mihail Gorbachev, perhaps with Mr Cameron as English PM and Mr Milliband as Union PM : ie totally unworkable.

      I am not clear how much would be devolved but it sounds as though the Union Government would be responsible for defence, foreign affairs and development aid but not much else except taxes and spending control for these items. Assuming that the English Government, like the Scots, has to balance its budget including infrastructure spending, the Union would also be responsible for fiscal policy without having many levers to put it into practice.
      There would need to be two Treasuries and two Chancellors as well as two prime ministers. If the Union stayed in the wider European Union, then the Union Government might need to duplicate further with slimmed down ministries for everything else to liaise and negotiate with the EU and enact its directives.

      As I recall, practical, hard-headed Geordies rejected regional government for the North East precisely because it would be a costly extra tier of bureaucracy, not a replacement.
      I do not think it would be long before (at some time when Union and English Governments were of different colour) England would opt to leave the union, leaving Northern Ireland up the creek without a paddle.
      In any case, I cannot see many people in Wales or Northern Ireland (other than their political class) wanting this kind of Home Rule, which would be expensive for them. Wales did not really vote for devolution in the first place and experience since then has not enthused many Welsh voters beyond Plaid Cymru.

    • bluedog
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      Very apposite comment, Mr outsider, regarding those parts of Scotland that may vote for the Union on a majority basis.

      SNP sources analyse the voting patterns on the basis of 32 Scottish counties, with 10 currently deemed solid for the Union and 14 confirmed as Yes. This leaves 8 counties still in contention and the battle ground as the campaign runs towards the vote.

      Your suggestion that the UK should look after these loyalists rather than abandon them to their fate is entirely reasonable and should take practical effect.

  49. Chris Rose
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    I am saddened by the contempt shown by the Scots for Westminster, although I understand it only too well. We have all become contemptuous of Westminster. But at its best, Westminster is the forum through which we come to understand and know ourselves. It is after all our parliament, with our representatives. If we divide it up and have sub-parliaments, we shall have less understanding of one another, and we shall have lesser politicians building their own little power structures in the dispersed assemblies, as has happened at Holyrood. We shall become a less cohesive nation.

    Diversity is the current cry: E Pluribus Unum; all very well, but you have got to have something to form the ‘Unum’.

    How I wish we could divert all the passion and effort that is currently being poured into the IndyRef campaign and use it to reform and re-structure our parliament in Westminster into one that we can all love, respect and understand. Some wish! And after next week, perhaps the chance to do so will be lost for good, as it would entail winding up Holyrood. Only Tam Dalyell seems to be campaigning for that; but he’s my hero for doing so.

    So, if Scotland goes, or is Devo Maxed, I would like to have a single assembly in Westminster for all the remaining parts of the UK. But not even that seems likely in the current dispensation: we shall have English devolution thrust upon us, and that will mean an English parliament, and not just a parliament, but an English prime minister, English ministers and an English cabinet. For how can a UK prime minister preside over an English parliament? The UK, or rUK, might elect a Labour government for Westminster when the English had elected a majority of Conservatives.

    So you ask what I would like in the forthcoming constitution change. I would like an English parliament, sitting in Westminster with an English prime minister and an English cabinet. But I shall find it poor compensation and, whatever the result of the referendum, I shall weep for the loss of the parliament we once had.

  50. ian
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I mean MR.M.HESELTINE, who wants to join the euro with his business friends who want local council route which the conservative party is all ready doing. I think wet&mad put up 6 billion all ready for the process,so it all ready in hand for the referendum on EU 2017. what with oversea aid becoming law this week at 0.7 of GDP and shortage of lorry drivers and climate change reduction 80% from 1990 level by 2050 all in the daily mail today, with all these laws and more on the way from the EU and the last labour government also with the libs now voting with labour in the house of lords and now in parliament i cannot see now the country is going to be able to go forward. It could be just a waste of time talking about it.

  51. ian
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    If scotland votes yes they will be able to do away with all the EU laws in one go and all are laws, if they had any sense that the the way they should keep it but with politician in scotland as they are they end up worst off, just like in england, politician get worst as time go on. Look at usa obama he more like a dictator not like a president a constitutional executive who go to congress for congressional consent. If you want get any were you must control your politician end of story.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 13, 2014 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      That would be including the EU laws which make it legally possible for Scotland to export a substantial chunk of its GDP not just to other EU countries but to other countries outside the EU with EU trade agreements, about 20%.

      While 30% of Scotland’s GDP would be at risk because the 1707 Treaty of Union had been terminated and not replaced by any other legal basis for trade with the rest of the UK.

      • Posted September 15, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        Trade results because people want to trade, not because of laws. I suggest that you read Rudyard Kipling’s Sumglers’ Song.

        If the EU tried to stop England trading with its Member States after a Brexit, there might be practical difficulties in smuggling. There certainly wouldn’t be any moral ones.

  52. waramess
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Democracy served up by Westminster is dead. You can see this clearly by the lack of a vote on EU membership; that now proposed by Cameron will be subject to great presssure being applied for the status quo, and the denial on a vote by the English Welsh and Northern Ireland electorate on Scottish independence.

    Contrast this against the massive turnout of non Scottish MP’s all lobbying for a NO vote and it is clear that the Westminster “ruling class” have a quite different agenda to the rest of us.

    Far better than Westminster being responsible for deciding what powers might be devolved to the regions (a tops down decision process) we should be considering a federation of UK counties elected by the people deciding what powers should be passed to the “administration centre” in Westminster (a tops up process much used by the business world)

    All borrowing and tax raising to be done by the regions with Westminster receiving a budget from and controlled by the regions to consolidate and manage, inter alia, defence of the realm for example.

    We might then get closer to democracy. Unfortunately with the present system the electorate might just as well accept that the “ruling class” are the ruling class and will continue to dish up an illusion of democracy rather than the real thing.

  53. Boudicca
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    There must be an English Parliament.

    If the Scots vote NO and get more devolution they must have no further involvement whatsoever in English-only affairs.

    There must be no attempt to impose the EU’s Regional Assemblies on us. The English are a nation, just as much as the Scots are. We do not want our country broken up and balkanised.

    Woe betide any Prime Minister and Party which seeks to fracture our country or which isn’t seen to be putting the interests of the English first for once.

  54. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    89 comments now, many timed later than my own comment which has not appeared; JR, would it speed moderation if I just agreed with whatever you said?

    Reply I regularly post your views which usually criticise me. I have deleted one of your lengthy posts today because it simply was wrong about my proposals and I don’t have the time to go through and correct it

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 14, 2014 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Reading through the comments it seems that quite a few of them are also “wrong” about your proposals, so maybe you need to explain them more clearly.

  55. Daisy
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for speaking out in Parliament, and please fight on.

  56. The PrangWizard
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, do you think Cameron should resign his premiership and leadership of your party in the event of a YES vote? After all he has said he would not wish to be a Prime Minister of England. He has also said he would ‘take on the Little Englanders’, and he has lauded his Scottish ancestry.

    Do you think the people of England will want him to stay?

  57. Posted September 13, 2014 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    There is of course the point that an English parliament wont actually help democracy, we need to take control over our MPs as well.

    There is for instance no point leaving the EU, going to all the trouble of making an English parliament, replacing the Lords with a UK Parliament, unless we also address the disjoin between the cross party political elite and the people of this country.

  58. wyrdtimes
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    Yes England needs its parliament back.

    Not so keen on Mr Redwoods idea of an English parliament though as explained on #bbcdp the other day. This would be an EP made up of the current UK MPs who (supposedly) represent English seats already. With a handful of exception including Mr Redwood these UK MPs have consistently put England last for years. Most can’t even bring themselves to say England even when talking about specifically English issues – which is lets face it most of the time.

    Not only have the UK MPs at WM put England last for years, there are also far too many of them. England doesn’t need anywhere near the 500 or so left when Welsh, Scottish & Northern Irish MPs are out of the way. An English parliament with 100 EMPs would be better representation than we have now. If we embrace the 21st century and England’s traditions of pushing democracy forwards we could create a system of national direct democracy. We should never again be in a situation where the government routinely ignores the people on the big issues. The English people should guide the politicians on issues such as membership of the EU, devolution within England, mass immigration not the other way round.

    Here’s to a better England, and England that is all it can be.

  59. Jonathan
    Posted September 14, 2014 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    If we have an English parliament, we could end up with Ed Miliband as Prime Minister of the UK and David Cameron as First Minister of England. There is nothing wrong with that per se if that is what the people of the UK and England respectively want. However it does mean that we need an alternative to the Barnet Formula for allocating money to the 4 countries of the UK.

    If we have a Labour government deciding how much tax to raise in the UK, and SNP, Tory, Labour and DUP/Sinn Fein governments deciding how much to spend in their respective countries, how do you agree on the appropriate level of UK taxation?

    I’m not saying it is an impossible question to answer, what I am saying is that we do need to think about what the answer is.

  60. Richard
    Posted September 14, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    I agree that there needs to be a English Parliament in the interests of fairness and democracy and I thank you for your efforts in this matter.

    However I am afraid that no such English Parliament will be forthcoming with our current Europhile Con/Lab/Lib Parliament as it is the wish of the EU to break England up into separate regions.

    I would therefore recommend that anyone who wants to see an English Parliament should write to their MP and check their view on this issue ahead of the next GE.

    By the way I believe that part of the reason for the current unpopularity of politicians and Parliament and the feeling that they are aloof and elite and voting is a waste of time is because all 3 main parties insist upon absolute loyalty in almost all HOC votes.

    The excessive use of the whips to force MPs to vote against their wishes and possibly those of their constituents needs to be phased out.

    All HOC votes need to be free votes so that constituents can feel that their MPs are truly voting as their representative in Parliament and not simply as another representative of the party leader.

    At the same time it is necessary to allow a government proposed bill to fail without the need for this to be seen as such a disastrous failure that a GE needs to immediately follow.

  61. Nigel Shipman
    Posted September 14, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood needs to explain how England’s MPs forming an England Parliamentary Committee for purely English affairs would work in circumstances where there was a Labour Government elected on the back of Scottish and Welsh votes but a Conservative majority in England. Unless cross-bench cooperation is better in future than it has been in the past, there would be political gridlock. It would probably require a similar devolved structure for England as there is in Scotland, with ministers for the purely English affairs appointed from the majority party in England and coordinated by an England First Minister. The UK PM and his team would be left with responsibility only for non-devolved issues, principally foreign affairs, defence and revenue and budget.
    Do we really want this arrangement? It may be better to reduce Scottish representation at Westminster in return for greater devolution but to leave other aspects of the West Lothian question unresolved.

    Reply Yes I want an English Parliament at Westminster making English decisions in parallel to the Scottish Parliament. Whichever party or parties has the majority in the English Parliament appoints the Ministers.

    • James Matthews
      Posted September 14, 2014 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      It can’t be said enough. Do we really want this arrangement? Yes, we really do.

  62. bob percy
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    I agree we need an english parliament – but why make it a subset of westminster MPs?
    What are your views on a separate elected english parliament or assembly – elected under PR in the same way that the welsh assembly and scottish parliament are?

    Reply I am going for the cheaper and easier option immediately. Just use the MPs you already pay and use the building we already have. IN due course we might want something different, which will also change the UK Parliament more.

  63. Steve
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I logged onto HM Gov e-petition website this morning in order to and my name to any petition calling for the creation of an English Parliament.

    To my delight there appeared such a petition which coincided with my view——unfortunately it closed on 04/08/12 after receiving just 5,142 signatures.

    Time to reopen it I think.

  64. Alan Parsley
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    On 9th December 2004 the Scotsman published my letter as follows: “…I continue to support the existence of a [Scottish] Parliament with devolved powers; what I can no longer understand or support is why we have MSPs. An alternative is that the Parliament would be composed of existing MPs representing Scottish constituencies, who would meet regularly in Edinburgh to consider devolved matters…. This would have a number of advantages. First, devolved matters would be decided by “premier league” politicians, and MPs would be more competent to manage the interface between devolved powers and those retained by Westminster. Secondly, it would solve the “West Lothian” question, since English MPs could meet to determine their own devolved matters … and it would also provide flexibility for regionalisation of devolved government in England, if desired. Thirdly, it would be simpler for the electorate; I would be represented on Scottish and United Kingdom issues by the same MP, who would be accountable to me for his/her performance in both parliaments. Finally, it would be much cheaper. ….” In May 2005 James Gray, the shadow Scottish secretary, publically took up the same cause and was promptly sacked by the Party. With a “No” vote and devo-max to follow the pressure for English devolved powers and an English Parliament will be unstoppable and the model of existing English MPs representing us on both devolved and UK matters inevitable. No doubt Scottish MSPs will resist suicide but when Scottish taxpayers realise how much more democracy is costing in Scotland compared with England change will come.

  65. Elliot Kane
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I completely agree, John. The case for an English parliament is now utterly overwhelming. Right now, we are the only nation in the UK without our own parliament, which is completely unfair and must be changed.

  66. Diane Smith
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I managed to catch you on the Today programme this morning, in the couple of minutes, the editors allowed you, compared to the years of campaigning from the Scots . The BBC’s handling of all this leaves a lot to be desired, not least their decision to headline the whole question as ‘Scotland’s future’ rather than ‘The UK’s future’.
    At the very least no more powers should be handed to Scotland without a full debate in Parliament.

  67. Agree!
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Couldn’t agree more. Scottish referendum has swung me firmly in favour of English parliament.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

    Promoted by David Edmonds on behalf of John Redwood both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU

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